When examining the cause of a truck accident, you may wonder whether the truck driver had a lapse in judgment or made another error to cause the crash. Such errors can include texting while driving, impaired driving, speeding, and more. However, you may not consider the possible role of a driver health issue in the accident.
Driving a commercial is inherently risky, as the size and weight of semi-trucks and other tractor-trailers can result in devastating injuries should a driver crash. Therefore, all commercial truck drivers must demonstrate adequate health to properly operate and stay in control of these large vehicles. To receive a commercial driver’s license (CDL), Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations require a driver to pass a medical examination.
Most drivers assume that by passing the medical exam, they are in good enough health to drive their big rigs. However, a CDL can last for five or more years before renewal, depending on the state of issuance. In that time period, drivers may develop new medical conditions or existing conditions may worsen, which can impede their ability to operate a commercial truck safely.
Some common medical issues that may arise and pose risks include:
- Cardiovascular issues – As a cardiovascular problem increases, so does the risk of a sudden and unexpected cardiovascular event. A heart attack behind the wheel can easily lead to a severe accident.
- Diabetes – Untreated or serious cases of diabetes put patients at risk of sudden seizures. Reports indicate significantly higher rates of obesity and self-reported diabetes among truck drivers than the rest of the workforce, so this is a particular concern.
- Arthritis – It takes strength, muscle and joint control, and agility to operate a large truck, especially when reacting quickly to a possibly dangerous situation. Arthritis and other joint or muscle disorders can hinder a driver’s ability to remain in control.
- Sleep apnea – Many people live with undiagnosed or untreated sleep apnea. This disorder results in increased fatigue throughout the day, even if a patient believes they got a good night’s sleep. This can lead to loss of concentration or even cause a driver to fall asleep behind the wheel.
- Mental illness – Truck drivers can develop mental disorders like anyone else, including depression and anxiety, which can skew decision-making. Without a proper diagnosis or treatment, many drivers may self-medicate with drugs or alcohol, which increases the risks of impaired driving.
It is critical for truck drivers to stay as healthy as possible—both for their own benefit and the safety of all others on the road. When a truck driver knew about a medical condition that led to a crash, they should be fully liable for any injuries and losses that occurred.
Contact a Gwinnett County, Georgia, Truck Accident Lawyer Today
The experienced accident and injury attorneys at Brauns Law, PC, know how to identify the cause of accidents and liable parties. We represent clients in complex truck accident cases, so please call (404) 418-8244 or contact us online to learn more about how we can help in your situation.